U.S. war readiness in jeopardy as pilots flee

Monday, November 18, 2013
By Paul Martin

‘Morale is really as bad as I’ve seen it’

Nov. 17, 2013

WASHINGTON – As if to dramatically illustrate repeated claims top generals have made to WND of a purge of senior officers and a degradation of military readiness under President Obama’s leadership, stunning testimony at a recent Senate committee hearing shows America may soon be unable to fight and win a war.

The Air Force is having problems retaining its pilots, even though they are being offered big bonuses to remain, senators learned at the Nov. 7 Senate Armed Services Committee hearing.

The problem appears to be partly from sequestration, which has imposed budget limitations on pilots’ ability to get in both the requisite flying time and the training needed to fly the next generation of aircraft, according to Air Force Secretary Eric Fanning.

He expressed grave concern about the trend toward budget cutbacks.

Likewise, at a recent Defense One Summit in Washington, Fanning warned that “we’re going to have flying hour issues for the foreseeable future,” a reference to the reality that pilots must fly a certain number of hours to maintain their ratings on various aircraft.

But Fanning said each U.S. squadron will be subject to rolling groundings of two to three months.

However, for the pilots, the issue isn’t just financial, as they have been offered major cash bonuses as an incentive to stay.

However, Fanning said, “pilots aren’t taking them.”

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